I know a whole lot more about running a business than I did in 2004, when I left the law to start Successful Career Strategies, Inc.
As a career coach for lawyers I have in the intervening years talked to hundreds of lawyers who expressed an interest in becoming business owners or the heads of a non-profit.
Aspiring business owners often speak about a desire “to be my own boss.” And that is certainly one aspect of starting a new business.
In my experience, however, this “be-my-own-boss” mantra is overstated. Even when you are the boss, you still have to answer to clients, investors, and funders. There are, however, two considerations that are much more important to the success of your career transition and ultimately the success of your new endeavor.
First, who do you want to serve? In other words, who do you want your clients or customers to be? The more clearly you can identify who your prospective clients are, the more realistic your transition is likely to be. It’s not enough to say that I want to go into the residential real estate field and therefore my potential clients will be purchasers and sellers of real estate who live in a particular area. It’s a decent start, but a more specific answer is in order.
That brings us to the second question. What will my marketing materials say? If you aren’t sure what marketing material you will use, begin by drafting the homepage and one interior page of a website. Many of you might be thinking that it’s premature and illogical to start by drafting your marketing materials. In my experience, however, drafting marketing materials does wonders to clear the mind and get prospective business owners to focus on who they want to serve, what product or services they will provide, and how will they earn money.
It’s tempting to think about the operational aspects of a potential business. For example, several lawyers I have worked with had thought a great deal about questions such as what kind of personal assistant they preferred. They had not, however, developed a clear understanding of what and how they will market themselves and generate revenues.
So how about you?
If you are thinking about leaving the practice of law and starting a new business, who specifically do you want to serve, and what will the home page of your website show and say about your new business?